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Robin #182

Posted: Friday, January 23, 2009
By: Erik Norris

Fabian Nicieza
Freddie Williams II, Guy Major (c)
DC Comics
By the time I reached the end of Robin #182 the only thing ringing in my head was how much of a wasted opportunity Tim Drake's severe head burn was. And that's really sad because behind this fanboy quibble is a decent episode in the "Search for a Hero" arc, as well as a decent set-up for Drake's new status-quo among the citizens of Gotham. But I just can't get over it. Two weeks?! Two weeks is all it took to completely heal a gross looking burn as well as grow back hair to a medium size length. That's absurd. I get zits that don't even disappear in two weeks. Damn shame because that plot point from last issue was a great way to provide a twist to Tim's character heading into Battle for the Cowl, giving him a physical reason along with a mental one to win the fight for new Batman status. Unfortunately that clever twist is no longer in play and kind of undermines the importance of this "Search for a Hero" arc in the greater Bat-verse.

But instead of obsessing over this odd development, I'll move on for reviewing sake and discuss what does work about issue #182, starting with the actual story. Nicieza takes a cool approach by framing the entire issue in two defining moments for Tim Drake's character: His first night on patrol with Batman and his new status quo as Gotham's sole defender. Tim's dialogue on the first page in comparison to his inner monologue on the last also mirror the mindset of the character at these particular moments in his life which is a great way to show the growth of the character over the years without having to make someone read years of in continuity Tim Drake stories. You get it all in two pages. The artwork by Freddie Williams also mirrors this shift in tone with a young, naive Tim sporting a huge smile on his face on the opening page, compared to a young adult Tim with a grimace on the last page. Paying even closer attention readers will notice the shift in spotlight between the two images with the first showcasing the classic bat symbol and the later, in the present, showing off the new Robin centric spotlight.

In between these two pages are twenty more (who would have thought?!) which do a decent job wrapping up "Search for a Hero". The conclusion does share a lot in common with this past summer's blockbuster juggernaut, The Dark Knight. Replace Batman with Robin and it's almost the same plot unfolding for this final act. Anarchy has erupted on the streets of Gotham (cause by the villain Anarky here, opposed to the Joker in the movie) which is abruptly ended when the villain is shown that not everyone shares the same sentiment towards ending all things and watches as citizens pull together to stop evil. Tim also has to make a choice of whom to save, Officer Harper or Spoiler, when the tension is at its highest between Anarky and Robin, much like Batman had to choose between Harvey and Rachael in TDK. But, of course, Tim chooses wisely and succeeds in the end, showing Gotham it still has a guardian angel, whether dressed as a bat or not. Freddie Williams also draws a panel to visually signify this moment that could have been an entire page but Williams chooses to effectively utilized storytelling space and make the panel one of many on a single page. However, the image is just as striking.

From reading this you know my one problem with Robin # 182. It's just too big to ignore because it could have been a game changer. But other than that, Robin #182 was a fitting conclusion to "Search for a Hero" and one of the better Robin tales I've read.



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